I invite you to join discussions, it enhances the reading experience for everyone. Please share your thoughts, opinions and knowledge in a respectful manner. May we all learn something in our endeavor to educate our hearts and minds. I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Are You Like Judas?

I’ve been thinking a great deal about Judas.

You know, the disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

I’m not sure why he’s been on my mind, but his story has captivated me.

Perhaps it’s because I think many Christians today (me) resemble him…not that they actively seek ways to betray him, but many Christians spend years devoted to Him yet completely misunderstand  their Savior. They spend time at church and do “Christian” things, but they’ve never really met Him. They know facts about Him, but they’ve never actually experienced the freedom found in the cross.  His love and grace haven’t truly touched their hearts.   They’re missing out on the abundant life and they don’t even know it! 

Here are a few examples:

Even after saying the “sinner’s prayer” they still feel unloved. They still try and “earn” their Salvation…even if they don’t say it or realize it.  They’re bogged down in sin and feel helpless to change. They read the Bible but it doesn’t sink in. They’re lost in despair, believing the lies of this world. They feel unworthy, their prayers lack power, and their walk with Christ is shallow.

Without realizing it, these Christians (me) are like Judas.

Judas walked with God (Trinity) and still completely missed having a relationship with Him! So it’s not impossible to think that there are tons of Christians today making his same mistakes. 

But WHY did Judas betray Jesus? (Why do we betray Him?)

Judas experienced the same things the other disciples did. 

He saw Jesus feed the multitudes, heal the sick, rebuke demons, and confront the religious leaders. He heard Jesus pray, watched him calm the storm, and witnessed Him grant forgiveness and acceptance to those the rest of society had wrote off as “no good”. 

Despite all this, WHO Christ was never penetrated his heart.

How did I come to this conclusion????

Because after he realized he’d messed up, he tried to correct the problem like most humans do. He went to those he’d taken the money from and tried to give it back. He wanted to make things right. He felt bad for what he’d done. The need to repent nagged at him.

But instead of going to God and asking for forgiveness, he went to man.

When man couldn’t ease his pain, take away his guilt, or make things right, he again turned to worldly solutions—not God’s grace.

He hung himself. 


He’d witnessed Jesus forgive everyone, of every sin they came at Him with, yet he didn’t think Jesus could forgive him. 

I wonder, do we think God can’t truly forgive us? Is that why we behave as we do?

I read a post by blogger Chris Martin about Jesus healing Malchus’ ear when it was chopped off in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:47-53). (check out his post by clicking his name, it’s awesome)

Again, Judas was there. 

He witnessed Jesus heal the ear of a man who came to arrest him.

He witnessed unmerited grace.

While Chris’ post focuses on the impact that must have had on the Roman Solider, I pondered why it didn’t have more of an effect on Judas.

I wonder if Jesus wasn’t only showing Malchus His love, but also trying to demonstrate one last time to Judas that He will forgive anything—even attacks on His life. 

Judas missed the lesson. He observed grace in action …but he didn’t apply it to his own life. 

How about you? 

Is God trying to tell you something, trying to teach you something? 

Are you missing out on God’s best because you’re unable, or unwilling, to see the offering of love being presented to you by God?

Please, dear reader, don’t be Judas. 

Don’t be an acquaintance of God’s…KNOW Him.

I encourage you: be like Peter. He denied Jesus 3 times yet his sorrow lead him back to Jesus—not further away (John 21:7-19).  He came back to Christ because he KNEW Christ, he’d seen Christ’s love and he couldn’t stay away—even if it meant having to admit he was wrong.

Peter had a relationship with God. 

I pray you do too.

That way, when trials come or when you mess up (because we all do), you can go to God for the solution and not try and fix things yourself.

Only in Him is true pardon found. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NIV

You either believe that verse or you don’t. No middle ground.

CONGRATS! Kari Scare is the commenter from last weeks post who won an ebook copy of "While I'm Waiting" by Laura Hodges Poole!

Monday, January 19, 2015

While I'm Waiting: Book Review and GIVE AWAY!

I’m blessed this New Year to be on a few awesome book launch teams!

 Displaying lhpoole_waiting.jpg

While I’m Waiting is awesome for the busy Christian who longs to dig deeper in their walk with God but has limited time for long winded chapters. 

Laura does an excellent job of getting straight to the heart of the matter. You won’t find yourself bored or pressed for time because While I’m Waiting is divided into short, easy to read chapters with reflection questions that will enable you to analyze your thoughts, emotions, and beliefs as they relate to the Word of God and the circumstances you’re currently encountering.

She uses stories from her past to bring enlightenment on how God’s Word can be applied to everyday life. Often Christians struggle between reading God’s Word and applying it to their own circumstances. Laura helps the reader connect the dots between theology and application especially during times of trial.

This book is meant to be used in conjunction with a journal. Journaling can bring fresh insight into stale problems and uncover layers of strongholds that prevent us from being content in our walk with God. 

Life can be hard. But God’s Word can bring not only deliverance, but also praise and hope during our times of waiting. 

If you feel as if you’ve hit a brick wall in your walk with God, or even if you’re on the mountaintop, this book is a great addition to be added to your reading list for 2015. It’s short, practical, and packs a punch…especially for the busy Christian. 

While I’m Waiting is available at Amazon in ebook format for $0.99. Laura hopes to have it in print in the near future. 

BONUS: Laura is giving away ONE free ebook copy to a random commenter. Winner will be announced next week. Just leave a comment below to enter (and tweeting about it is greatly appreciated as well).  Click to Tweet: "While I’m Waiting" by @Laura_Poole is awesome for the busy Christian who longs to walk with God but has limited time. Available on Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me for an honest review which I have gladly given.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Fake it till you Make it: How to regain Focus

I have a confession:

My focus is off.

I sit down to read my Bible, pray, or even worship my Creator and my mind drifts. 

This doesn’t normally happen to me.

Usually I can push past any distractions and spend time with God.

But lately I’m struggling to give God one minute of my undivided attention.   

I’ve spent time trying to analyze “why” I’m having the inability to center my heart and mind on God, but I find I can’t even concentrate on that for longer than thirty seconds. (Perhaps it’s because I’m pregnant and really tired)

So instead of forcing myself to “figure out why” I’m having this dilemma, and rather than give up until my mind decides to cooperate, I’ve decided to adopt the old adage: “Fake it till you make it”.

This is where having established discipline comes in.

Discipline keeps me returning to God, even though it feels like an exercise in futility. 

Discipline prompts me to “go through the motions”.

While this may sound contrary to a good relationship, I think it’s quite the opposite. 

I’m still committed to God.

I still long to spend time with Him.

I still WANT to hear His voice and feel His presents.

I don’t’ know “why” I’m having difficulty being in His presents since my heart longs to be near Him, but I’m not going to waste my energy (and limited mental capacity) trying to figure out the logic behind all this. 

And I’m not going to “give up”. 

I’m not going to feel like a failure or believe the lie that it’s a waste of my time to read my Bible when I can’t remember anything five minutes later.

I’m NOT going to “Take time off” from serving God and obeying Him.
I’m NOT going to “take a day off” from being in a relationship with my Savior (click to tweet). 

While I may not FEEL like I’m accomplishing anything, I trust that I am not wasting my time…or God’s.

My focus may be skewed right now, but my heart is still committed to God.

So until my focus returns, I’ll continue to “fake it till I make it”.

I’m so thankful for the discipline I’ve cultivated over the years. 

I have a strong feeling that without that discipline I would be tempted to “take time off” and turn my focus to things that make me feel like I’ve used my time more “wisely”.

But thank God He doesn’t view wisdom or productivity as we do. He knows our hearts, our motives, our humanness, our thoughts…nothing is hidden from Him. 

I can’t lie to Him.

He knows my focus is off, but He also knows I long for my focus to be centered on Him. 

To Him, I’m not “faking” it; I’m simply continuing to discipline my body/mind to seek Him even when I don’t feel like it. 

“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Monday, January 5, 2015

Learning to Listen to God

I’m reading Secrets of the Secrete Place by Bob Sorge and one thing that stands out is his revelation about LISTENING to God. 

Everything in our lives hangs on our ability to LISTEN to God.

How can we answer the invitation to Grace if we don’t listen to the initial call of Salvation? 

How can we know God’s purpose for our lives if we don’t listen to His voice?

How do we know what HE wants for us if we don’t listen to His directives? 

Over and over in the Scriptures we read of God instructing His people to LISTEN.

I’ll be honest, listening isn’t my strongest discipline.

I’m better at praise/worship, prayer, Bible reading…even fasting.

Not so good at pausing to listen to what God has to say. 

Yes, He speaks to me in His Holy Word….but I’m starting to think (Holy Spirit promptings here) that there’s more to listening than what I’m currently doing. 

While this could intimidate me (I’m a doer and not very good at being inactive and silent), instead I feel peace.

I know there will be a HUGE learning curve, that God will be patient with me.

Listening, like all Godly disciplines, takes time and practice.

I won’t be “good” at it at first, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for me.

In fact, as I’ve been seeking God on how to “Listen better” He brought me to Luke 17:5-10 NIV

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?  Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’?  Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?  So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”

Here we see the apostles asking Jesus how they can increase their faith.

LISTEN to His answer: 


Just do what you know to do. Don’t worry about the things you don’t know. 

Do the small things…then you’ll get bigger things.

Obey in the things you know and more responsibility (faith) will be added to you. And don’t assume you deserve more faith, can “earn” it, or that there’s a magic formula to obtain it. 

Just be a servant. 


Now I’m not certain how obeying will necessarily increase my faith.

But if Jesus said it will, then I can take it to the bank.

How does this correspond to me learning how to listen?

Simple, I must do what I know to do.

Start there.

Don’t worry about” HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD” or gaining amazing revelations the first time I set aside ten minutes to listen. Don’t worry that I only have ten minutes. Don’t worry if thousands of thoughts bombard me and distract me. Don’t worry if this discipline doesn’t come “naturally” to me.

Start small. 

My faith, and my listening skills, will grow—just like the mustard seed grows.

My point:

Listen to whatever it is God is telling you to do. He wants to increase your faith and build up your relationship with Him.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Don’t worry about the details.

Just obey the parts you do know. 

The rest we can leave in God’s hands to reveal to us as we grow.

Have a blessed day and please, take a moment to listen to God.